CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2024/01/22 - Colorado - Waterfall Canyon, south of Ophir

Published 2024/01/24 by Spencer Logan - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Waterfall Canyon, south of Ophir
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2024/01/22
  • Time: Unknown
  • Summary Description: 1 backcountry snowboarder caught and killed
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Snowboard


  • Caught: 1
  • Fully Buried: 0
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 1


  • Type: --
  • Trigger: --
  • Trigger (subcode): --
  • Size - Relative to Path: R1
  • Size - Destructive Force: D2
  • Sliding Surface: O - Within Old Snow


  • Slope Aspect: NW
  • Site Elevation: 11475 ft
  • Slope Angle: --
  • Slope Characteristic: --

Accident Summary

PRELIMINARY: A backcountry snowboarder was caught and killed in an avalanche on January 22, 2024, in Waterfall Creek, south of Ophir. The avalanche occurred on a northwest aspect below treeline. Friends reported the rider overdue that evening. A friend of the snowboarder followed what appeared to be a fresh up-track to a transition point above a slope locally known as the “Banker”. One set of fresh tracks descended the slope below. The friend returned to Ophir via the ascent route  Search and rescue teams reached the accident site and recovered the snowboarder’s body on the morning of January 23. Search and rescue efforts were led by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office and supported by San Miguel Search and Rescue, Helitrax, and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.